Friday, November 25

Our Thanksgiving weekend

This Thanksgiving I was grateful for family memories and traditions, online recipe and shopping sites, our opportunity to live here in Germany, and FOOD, glorious food! That may seem rather shallow, but my gratitude runs deep. Real deep!

So our plan was to pack up Tuesday night for our extended weekend at the cousins' in Munich, have me load up and shop before getting the boys from school Wednesday, and just pick up Ryan on base before heading out of town at 1pm. But plans are simply made to be broken!

Jake and McKay "helping" me make the kids a snack after school.
Our apartment feels drafty so Jake gets to wear a hat almost all the time when he's up.
He totally digs hats.

I spent most of Tuesday finishing up laundry to be packed and overseeing a plumber looking for the source of our kitchen sink and dishwasher leaks. Yeah, fun stuff being an adult. Then as we were cleaning up dinner, my sweet Visiting Teachers stopped by for a visit I had completely forgotten about. Now officially behind "schedule." Wednesday was pretty busy as I packed us up and finalized the last minute shopping list in the morning (organizing it in the order I walk through the commissary because that's how I roll), picked up the kids from school, and then came back to the apartment to load up the van. Luckily, I was able to drop the kids at Ryan's office and blissfully shop alone for Thanksgiving amid crazy last minute shoppers. There were no parking spaces and most people had to wait in line to get a cart! I didn't even mind the craziness since I was shopping alone! Finally we got on the road to Munich at 4pm and the kids were so excited to go see their cousins!

We sure had a tasty laid-back Thanksgiving feast, if I do say so myself. Cooking by committee rocks! Eric did a brined turkey, cornbread and sausage stuffing, gravy, and Memay's rolls. Tamsyn did the "frog eye" salad and Memay's cranberry sauce. Ryan made Grandma Dale's apple pie and a candied sweet potato casserole while I did dishes and regular ol' creamy mashed potatoes. I'm so lucky!!! We all concurred that it's so much better to slave over a feast and be able to eat it with other adults who also savor the food because the kids just don't appreciate it yet! Oh we were so delightfully stuffed!

While Ryan spent a good portion of the day checking out Black Friday specials online, I spent most of the day scanning a book of pictures Memay made for Eric so we could have some copies of Ryan's childhood we didn't have already. I was lost in thoughts of gratitude for our parents. Many of those images captured moments of pride and joy in their family's life. It reminded me of similar pictures my mother saved for me and my siblings and ones I am collecting for my own family. I am so grateful for our parents and their love for us! Family life isn't all roses, but these captured moments are great reminders to hold on for the sublime, fleeting moments that seem to make it all worth it. One of my favorite pictures was of Ryan's dad in a recliner with Ryan, Eric and Dan as little kids snuggled atop him. I have many shots of Ryan with our munchkins in a similar position and it makes me smile just thinkin' of it. When I wasn't scanning, I was nursing my little Jake and enjoying his cooing smiles. Man he's such a sweet happy kid!

We feasted at 6pm once all the cousins were home from their international school there in Munich. Eric had invited a visiting old colleague and his daughter who are here for two weeks on business to join us. Dinner was followed by the sharing of musical talents. I learned about Hayley's amazing perfect pitch talent. Eric, Tamsyn, Camilla and the guest took turns on the piano. We were all feeling pleasantly, or in some cases, painfully plump. How blessed we are to have such a feast and enjoy it with family who make us feel so comfortable in their home!